The HFN-owned land at Sarita Bay is approximately 10kms north of Anacla at the southern end of Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island.

The project, which would include a land-based liquefaction facility, could ultimately represent an investment of US$30bn and create hundreds of direct jobs from design through construction, and hundreds of additional full-time operational jobs should the project go ahead. If the project goes ahead, the facility would run for at least 25 years.

On July 8, Steelhead LNG applied to the National Energy Board for a license to export up to 30.0 million tonnes of LNG per year for 25 years. The development of the Sarita Bay site would be split into four 6mtpa (million tonnes per annum) LNG production trains, which is reflected in the application. Steelhead LNG is currently working with pipeline companies to explore infrastructure options to deliver the gas from northern British Columbia to western Vancouver Island, and options for an additional 6.0mtpa LNG export facility along a pipeline route.

Steelhead and HFN were introduced by the Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA), which developed strong relationships with both parties as part of its mandate to foster economic development in the region. In 2013 the Port Alberni Port Authority entered into a Protocol Agreement with HFN to collaborate towards achieving initiatives such as this proposed project.

The project, which is being overseen by a joint Steelhead LNG/ Huu-ay-aht First Nations Project Development Panel (PDP), represents a unique approach and an increased level of First Nations input and direction in an LNG project. The project will be subject to several comprehensive regulatory, environmental and technical assessments and will only proceed after extensive consultation with Huu-ay-aht citizens, including a vote on a possible land lease to the project at the Huu-ay-aht First Nations People’s Assembly in November, 2014. PAPA would continue to be involved with the port development, marine and shipping related aspects of the project.

“We look forward to working closely with Huu-ay-aht First Nations to explore LNG opportunities,” said Nigel Kuzemko, CEO, Steelhead LNG. “While the site is a significant distance from upstream gas production, it does offer numerous advantages, including direct access to the Pacific Ocean. This agreement at the earliest stage of the project reflects our commitment to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations and our respect for their principles of iisaak (greater respect), hishuk tsa-walk (everything is connected) and uu–a-thluk (taking care of). We were also very impressed by the level of collaboration between Huu-ay-aht First Nations and the Port Alberni Port Authority. We see this kind of collaboration as an enabler for projects of this magnitude.”

“It’s important to note that this agreement represents only the first step in our journey together. We recognise that between now and the time the first shipment of LNG might leave our proposed facility, thousands of decisions will have to be made and we have to get every one of them right, or that shipment doesn’t leave. In addition, the decisions we make together will be measured against our joint responsibility to ensure the lands on which we hope to operate are safeguarded for generations to come.”
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For Huu-ay-aht First Nations Chief Councillor Jeff Cook, the Opportunity Development Agreement is a reflection of HFN Executive Council’s long term economic development strategy that provides sustainable wealth for the Huu-ay-aht people, while respecting their value of conservation.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nations is a 750-citizen, self-governing nation based in Barkley Sound, on the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island. Fifteen per cent of its citizens live in the community of Anacla (near Bamfield), with the remaining citizens living in Port Alberni, greater Vancouver, northwest Washington State and elsewhere. HFN is part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Group and is a signatory to the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement that came into effect on April 1, 2011.

As part of the Opportunity Development Agreement, Steelhead LNG will provide HFN with capacity funding so the Nation can secure the technical, environmental and negotiating expertise it needs to protect its land and its interests.

Steelhead LNG and Huu-ay-aht First Nations will also work together on a social benefit and community engagement.